Jordana Salma is a Registered Nurse and an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Alberta. Her research program IREA “Implementing Research for Equity in Aging” focuses on the health and well being of immigrant, refugee and racialized older adults. She works to engage communities in designing and implementing interventions that improve health outcomes. Some areas of past and current work relate to social connectedness, chronic disease management and physical activity in older adults. She draws from Feminist, Transnational and Post-Colonial perspectives and has expertise in participatory, arts-based and qualitative research methodologies.
Living through the COVID-19 pandemic: Experiences of community-dwelling racialized and immigrant older adults
Jordana Salma, University of Alberta, Canada
Canada has the second highest percentage of foreign-born nationals in the world and immigrants will soon constitute 30% of Canada’s aging population. Alberta is home to over 100,000 Muslims, the majority of whom are first- and second-generation immigrants.
Muslim older adults report social isolation, loneliness, and lack of access to aging supportive resources. Local religious and ethnocultural organizations help meet the day to day needs of vulnerable immigrant older adults who are often marginalized within mainstream service sectors. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many older Muslims in Alberta lost access to their mosque-based support system resulting in deteriorating mental health and loneliness.
This one-year project facilitates the creation of a community liaison role at a local Mosque to support older Muslims during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Community liaisons can identify vulnerable older adults and bridge access to essential services and supports. Using interviews with a sample of Muslim older adults, their caregivers, and related stakeholders (volunteers, service providers, imams, community leaders) we captured experiences during the pandemic and emerging needs. This presentation will provide an overview of these experiences and the benefits and challenges of using a liaison worker to support older adults in the community.